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GCN : November 2013
5 > practices for operations management • Metrics for analytics and insight (situational awareness) e evolving DCIM paradigm encompasses elasticity, multitenancy, scalability and flexibility, and is metered and service-oriented. It facilitates rapid provision of new services, keeping end-user experience and satisfaction in mind, including taking into account the ability of an organization to compete with outside service offerings in terms of productivity and economic efficiency. Although specific technology domain areas or groups may concentrate their attention mainly on a particular area or mission, identifying and understanding the interdependencies across IT resource areas is essential to achieving an efficient virtual data center. Because of this complexity, DCIM activities commonly include: • Measurement, accounting, reporting, analysis, audit, billing and chargeback • Configuration discovery, remediation and change validation management • Monitoring of resource usage • Tracking the effectiveness of everything from facility components to application software • Establishment of service templates, blueprints and guides for configuration • Performance, availability and capacity planning • Quality of Service (QoS), service-level agreements (SLAs) service-level objectives (SLOs) and service delivery management DCIM takes an end-to-end (E2E) management approach. It relies on situational awareness across a data center's different technology domains and organizational boundaries to understand how IT resources are used to deliver service at any given level. In addition to usage and utilization, E2E management and awareness means being able to tell whether users are getting the response time, availability and level of service they expect while also knowing how underlying resources are performing or behaving. E2E management can be accomplished using a single tool that cuts through different technology layers that collect data via application programming interfaces (APIs), Simple Network Management Protocol management information bases (SNMP MIBs) and other mechanisms. Another option is to leverage tools already familiar to the technology and applications management groups within the organization. ese tools sometimes have crossover capabilities. For example, a facilities management tool might see how power and cooling is being used --- and which servers, network or storage hardware are consuming that power. Application tools might track how operational functions are being processed, along with underlying resource usage data. Resulting situational awareness allows an organization to make timely, well-informed decisions. Situational Awareness Performance and capacity planning can become complementary activities with systems or storage resource management (SRM) and utilization, or it can be handled as separate tasks. Performance tuning and optimization can initially be viewed as reactionary tasks that respond to specific situations. However, a performance plan and ongoing performance-tuning initiative will help shift an organization from reaction to tactics via a long-term strategic management approach. Performance planning will ultimately support overall growth that maximizes IT spending. Systems or storage resource analysis (SRA) tools step beyond basic resource reporting tools by providing event oday's agile data centers demand top-notch management systems, tools and best practices that will allow strategic planning, low-cost operations, and workflow analysis to identify improvement options and keep an organization on an optimal path to achieving its goals. at's where data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and the crucial intelligence it offers come into play. e Whole Picture For some, DCIM is more facilities- oriented, focusing mainly on physical floor space and power and cooling. Other organizations will have a converged view that encompasses hardware, software and facilities and how they are used to deliver information services cost-effectively. Common to all DCIM practices is the use of metrics and measurements along with other related information about available resources to gain situational awareness, which includes visibility into what resources exist; how they are configured and used; and their performance, availability, capacity and economic effectiveness (PACE) to deliver a given level of service. When properly enabled, DCIM will provide an organization detailed insight into its data center operations and help it make timely and effective decisions. An overarching DCIM approach comprises the following areas: • Facilities, power, cooling and floor space • Resource planning, management and tracking • Hardware (servers, storage and networking) • Software (virtualization, operating systems, applications and tools) • People, processes, policies and best Sometimes natural disasters threaten data center operations from the outside. But when the trouble is within, data center infrastructure management is the radar intelligence you need to foresee trouble quickly and head it off at the pass.